Welcome to the latest Squire Newsletter!
This is Mayday Bank Holiday Weekend! For many of you it will also mean Mods Mayday! The first Mods Mayday was 7th May 1979, a recorded concert at The Bridge House, Canning Town, London E16, a large London anonymous pub on the side of a highway that was also a legendary live venue.
The line up on the day was Squire, Beggar, Small Hours, The Mods, Merton Parkas and Secret Affair. But it was only by chance and youthful zeal that Squire ended up on the record. We turned up at the venue, uninvited and hoping to be able to play. We had been tipped off about the gig only two days earlier, playing with The Mods on Saturday 5th May at The Green Man, Plumstead.
They had mentioned in passing that their next gig was on Bank Holiday Monday at the Bridge House and we should go along. We had the van booked over the holiday weekend so decided to take the risk and go up with our gear and see if we could blag a gig on what appeared to be an important event. The Purple Hearts, The Chords, Back To Zero and The Scooters were also playing on the same day across town at The Music Machine in Camden and we didn’t want to be left out of the weekends Mod events.
We had no idea it was also going to be recorded for a live album! The landlord Terry Murphy was gracious enough to allow us to play if the local band Little Roosters who were on the bill, didn’t show up - and they didn’t show up! So we got to go on first! At around 4pm we climbed on stage as the opening act on the day that went on until 11pm.
The songs played on the day in order were:
It’s a Mod Mod World, The Face Of Youth Today, I’ve Got You On My Mind, B-A-B-Y Baby Love, Walking Down The Kings Road and Live Without Her Love, and so the whole day was kicked off with It’s A Mod Mod World!
After our short set, we got to see all the bands perform. We had arrived in our van first ahead of all the other acts, and were blocked in the car park and couldn’t leave until all the bands had loaded and gone! It was an excellent day, amazing crowd and full to the rafters.
The album was recorded on 16 track, with Ronnie Lane's LMS Mobile Studio. The same mobile studio that had been used to record much of Quadrophenia and Who By Numbers. Perhaps more of a coincidence than creative choice but a remarkable connection. The mobile unit was normally parked at Shepperton Studios and each band were invited to attend their mixing session so we all went to Shepperton to hear the results.
Three Tracks were chosen as Squire's contribution to the original LP:- B-A-B-Y Baby Love, Walking Down The Kings Road and Live Without Her Love. The final three tracks were mixed years later and issued on a second album, before finally being combined together on a single CD release. Though The Merton Parkas played on the day, their record company Beggars Banquet refused permission for them to be included, so their tracks had to wait until finally being added some 20 years later!. They were excellent on the day.
The LP was released on the pubs own Bridge House Records label, and was initially distributed by Secret Affairs Arista Records which helped it to chart at 75! Since then has been continually re-released, reformatted and bootlegged to become a global sensation and collectors item!
Robert S Lee and his scooter are featured on the cover, and this picture is as important as the album, and remains an iconic image that represents the Mod Revival and is still used to represent the Mods Mayday.
The album provided the first visual and aural clues to the neo mod phenomenon, and the Mods Mayday name has been appropriated all over the world as an umbrella term to describe annual events celebrating the coming together of people interested in mod lifestyle, with concerts and rallies following a familiar template.
Though overseas events owe little to the actual 1979 mod revival era or Bridge House concert, the Mods Mayday album together with the release of the film Quadrophenia were vital catalysts that connected to the genesis of the mod culture in the 1960s.
The 1979 Mod Revival provided the blueprint for continual reconfiguring of past concepts of mod within current cultural affordances. Technology, entrepreneurship and commodification continue to play a vital role in the globalisation and interest in cosmopolitan mod styles.
The 2019 event in London, postponed until 2022 includes bands from all eras, not just the 1979 neo mod cohort, with Kenney Jones and The Truth on the bill.
In 2019 there were six concurrent Mods Mayday events in Japan:- Tokyo, Fukushima, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Hiroshima, many more in Indonesia, and across every continent you can find a Mods Mayday event - as the following posters will demonstrate!
Happy Mods Mayday from Squire - wherever you are!